A responsible correspondent, one slightly less hypnotized by the wonders of the World Baseball Classic, would’ve had something to share this week about Chelsea’s Champions League exit at the hands of Barcelona.
Instead, you’ll have to settle for the following item from the Guardian’s Marina Hyde on a low moment in public relations history.
On the off chance you heard a small whimper this week, do not be despondent. In fact, chuck another chair leg on the fire and get back to watching Trisha. It was merely the sound of top-flight football finally being entirely annexed by showbusiness. The conquest has been going on for yonks, of course, but news that Simon Fuller has been hired to represent the England squad seems to indicate that assimilation is now total.
For those unfamiliar with his body of work, Fuller is the chap responsible for the Spice Girls, S Club 7, global entertainment behemoth Pop Idol and the prevailing assumption among teenagers that fame is a basic human right. He is widely assumed to own an island lair staffed by minions in yellow jumpsuits, with a mountain that opens up into a rocket launcher.
Anyway, from August onwards, he will handle commercial opportunities for the national side, after a 10-strong panel of players unanimously voted to move what I suppose you’d call their account into his nurturing hands.
It certainly is good news for those who feel that the commercial opportunities of playing for one’s country are underexploited. For others, it simply marks the closing of a circle. After all, it was Simon who, after an Old Trafford game one day in 1997, introduced the then Victoria Adams to what narrative convention requires we style as a shy young Manchester United midfielder, ushering in an unprecedented era of super-branded individuals. The rest is history, or at least it is if you don’t go in for measuring mankind’s slow crawl towards extinction by dates like 1066 or 9/11.
This latest acquisition seems to indicate several things, perhaps most immediately the inefficacy of the Fuller voodoo doll one imagines Sir Alex Ferguson has been sticking pins into ever since that fateful Cupidesque moment. These days it is all Fuller can do to remember how many houses he owns. “Four,” he told a recent interviewer. “Or is it five?”